As with other arbitrary renewable energy targets set by world governments, it is unlikely that India will meet its goal to generate 40% of its power with renewables by the year 2030.
According to Business Standard, they currently support their grid with 15% renewable energy and experts estimate the country will need an additional 300,000-350,000 MW of generation to reach the target. In contrast, India’s current plans will see only 175,000 MW of infrastructure in the year 2022.
India’s growth, particularly in solar energy, has been fast: in 2010, solar generated just 2 MW of power, but now generates 4,200 MW. India even ranks fifth in the world for wind power, with 24,000 MW of capacity. They’re already doing a great job, so the impulse to overcommit themselves is puzzling.
It turns out that the wind industry has been losing momentum for three years, but even if that were not the case, meeting the renewable energy targets would still necessitate solar development at a rate no country has yet achieved. At the moment, India develops 1,000 MW of solar power every year. They would need to work at ten times that rate in order to account for a third of what the country needs to meet their goals.
Rushing to meet these impressive-sounding numbers does not usually lead to the kind of long-term, sustainable change that will ultimately mitigate climate change. This is the same problem with the Olympics. Trying to develop too quickly often drives costs too high and the countries usually end up taking on too much debt as a result. That debt is also often passed down to taxpayers.
After the latest news about countries overstating their capabilities in the Paris climate change agreement, it makes it seem like summer camp, with each country trying to make their friends jealous. Of course, lots of renewable energy is great, but sustainability is the key to a greener future.